Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey announced this week that up to 87 commercial properties on Spencer Road and Carlisle Road in Derry are set to benefit from revitalisation works.
The Minister has awarded funding of £1.14 million to Derry City and Strabane District Council to deliver the revitalisation schemes which will be used to enhance shop frontages including replacement signage and painting, replacement of rainwater goods, repairs to render brickwork and removal of external shutters.
She said: “This will contribute to the long term economic viability of both busy shopping and social thoroughfares helping businesses recover from the pandemic.
“This investment will help local businesses improve their shop facades making city centre shopping in Derry more appealing. Through projects like these, my Department continues to help support our town and city centres as they continue the process of economic recovery.”
The minister said her Department has worked closely with the Council and City Centre Initiative to develop the projects and works are due to commence early in 2022.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke said: “This investment being channelled into Carlisle Road and Spencer Road will certainly improve the local retail and hospitality environment and will greatly assist in providing support to the local business community as part of the wider COVID recovery.
"This investment will also improve the look and feel of both areas, enhancing the physical presentation of these important commercial streetscapes to make them more attractive to the benefit of businesses and shoppers/visitors.
"I welcome the collaborative approach taken by DfC, Council and City Centre Initiative in working together to bring forward projects that will assist in creating a thriving and successful local economy.”
Local politicians welcomed the cash injection.
Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson said: “This funding will support 87 businesses to revamp their shop fronts including new signage and paintwork and removal of outdoor shutters.
“As our local shops, businesses and city centres recover from the pandemic, this will bring life back into and help modernise these streets.”
SDLP MLA Mark H. Durkan said: “This investment is good news for the city and will be a welcome contribution to the local retail and hospitality sector. This will be of great importance as our town centres enter a period of economic recovery.
“The £1.4 million funding will provide external maintenance and enhancements to shop frontages along the Spencer Road and Carlisle Road. As thoroughfares into the city centre, any improvements to the shop facades along this route is good news for local business.
“This revitalisation scheme will provide much needed support for the local business community and assist in not only in the rebuilding of our city centre post-Covid but also the long-term viability of the local economy.”
SDLP councillor Martin Reilly said: “This latest investment is part of wider revitalisation work going on in the Waterside area following on from similar improvements in the Clooney Terrace area and plans for the new Waterside Youth Club on the Dungiven Road.
“Myself and other SDLP representatives have long been campaigning for this part of the city to get its fair share and I’m delighted to see this revitalisation work will become a reality, providing a big lift to the local community and businesses in the area.
“The SDLP has worked with local businesses to help secure this investment and the improved shop frontages will be a boost as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic which has hit many of them hard. The revitalised storefronts are sure to attract more customers and give this area a more modern and welcoming appearance.”